Happy Valentine’s Day

Cookies courtesy of my incredibly artistic friend Lora.  They’re a wonderful butter cookie recipe.  Don’t you wish you were here to try one?  I’ll have one for you….  Happy Valentine’s Day!

Our First Baby Goat of 2011

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Hermione had her first kid ever yesterday, a little buckling.  We found them in the barn when we went out for evening chores yesterday.  You know what this means?  Cheese!  Well, it’ll be a while but yay!  Cheese!  He’s pretty darn cute.

Needlefelted Animals

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Yesterday I hosted a needlefelted animals workshop here on the farm.  I have been wanting to learn felting since receiving an exact replica of Jenna from a partner in a craft swap last summer.  I contacted an instructor who lives about an hour away and she offered to come up to teach a workshop for me and my friends.   We had a lovely time.  The instructor had never done a workshop in someone’s home before and said she’d enjoy doing it again.  Everyone got to work on the animal of their choice;  cats, a dachshund, a bunny and a sheep.  Everything in the photo was felted during the class except the 3rd one from the left which was brought by our instructor (and left for me – yay!).  All are WIPs with more details to be finished at home.  One of the most awesome things was everyone received a basic kit and the instructor brought felting supplies for purchase.  These are very hard to come by, particularly around here.  It was lovely to be able to handle the roving instead of viewing it on an internet site.  I bought ten different colors.  No clue what I’ll make next but I’ve got the basics down and am inspired.  Thanks so much to Paige for coming up, you can check out her work at http://www.lulugroove.com

Come On In… (Not)

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We lived for ten years in one of those neighborhoods with houses right on top of each other and lots of homeowner association restrictions.  Like you have to ask permission if you want to change the color of your house.  And you have to plant a certain kind of grass.  And you can’t have chickens (boo).  And your kid’s playset can only be so high (A neighbor built a wooden one 5 inches over the limit and had to tear it down.  They moved.)  We received a notice from our association to repaint our mailbox post because the birds were pooping on it.  sigh.  We used to sit out in our hot tub on our back deck (waving at our next door neighbor running around in his underwear… again) dreaming about having a place where you couldn’t see the damn neighbors.  We looked for property for about a year.  One of our requirements was the house couldn’t be situated right on the road.  I fell in love with this place when I first saw the front gate.  Privacy!  We added the no trespassing sign after finding that strangers kept coming up our driveway to ‘see what’s back there’ and keep the gate locked at night.  And sometimes all weekend.  I can garden in my PJs!  Our house sit almost a half mile behind the gate overlooking a one acre pond.  When workers or delivery people first come to our house, they usually say ‘I didn’t know this was back here’, followed soon after by ‘Are there fish in that pond?’.  My response is usually ‘We like it that way’ and ‘no’.  Strangers seem to like to ask if they can come fish in our front yard…  Anyhoo, if we know you and know you’re coming, the gate will be open and the coffee will be on.  Call first.  🙂

Potty Mouth

Bindi has discovered a new watering hole.  We have three of them for her amusement, actually.  She plays in the water.  She also likes to run into the shower after you get out.  I think she likes to have her feet wet.  We’re trying our best to discourage her, it’s becoming a full time job.

Little Lamb Lost

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But not for long.  The lambs occasionally fall asleep in the sun while mom is grazing.  As soon as they wake up and call for their mama, she comes trotting back for a joyful reunion.  All of the ewes recognize their own lambs’ voices.  And yes, they are as soft as they look.

Welcome to the Neighborhood

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We purchased two young hens to add to our laying flock from our local poultry supplier.  He used to be the sheriff.  I wanted two more Red Sexlinks like our Honey, who lays year round but he didn’t have any of those available right now.   We decided to go with Rhode Island Reds.  They are supposed to be prolific egg layers, we’ll see how they do.  I still want a few Red Sexlinks so plan to keep my eye out for those and the sheriff says he’ll have heritage breed turkey poults available next Month.  We’ll sell fresh eggs at the farmers market and raise a few 2011 Thanksgiving turkeys.  There’s a market for fresh poultry but nobody around here carries it.  Feed is expensive and processing is a pain but since we plan to raise our own Thanksgiving bird, we might as well get him a few friends.

Expensive Kitty Toys

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Guess which one she prefers?

Newborn Lamb Care

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We don’t like to handle newborn lambs much, but it’s important to disinfect their umbilical cords soon after birth.  We use a solution of iodine in an empty soda bottle.  The remaining cord is placed into the bottle, which is then tipped up against the lamb’s belly.  Fast & easy.  We used to dock our ewe’s tails at birth for sanitation purposes but are going for Animal Welfare Approved status this year and they don’t allow it.  Fine by me, we were only doing it because we were advised it’s better for the sheep later in their lives.  Time will tell.

Farm Dogs and Lambing

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Jenna, Milos and FiFi were all present at the birth of Kat’s lambs.  I found it amusing how the different breeds reacted to it.  Jenna, our border collie, watched the entire process with laser focus and intent like she was calculating the expanding flock count and planning how to handle the little ones when herding.  Our guardians Milos and FiFi slept through most of it.  Their job is to protect, the number of protectees is inconsequential.  Everyone has a job to do on our farm.  I love our dogs!

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